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Kwanzan Cherry

May 11, 2020

Tree of the Month

Prunus serrulata ‘Kwanzan’

A beautiful medium-sized ornamental tree that was introduced from China and Japan in 1903, and is now planted widely throughout the U.S. Its main attribute is its beautiful spring floral display.  Double, deep rose pink flowers appear with the new reddish-bronze foliage in late April and early May.  The oblong and serrated leaves later turn dark green in summer and a brilliant yellow-orange to bronze in the fall.

Kwanzan is the most popular and hardy of the double flowering cherries.  It will tolerate many different soil types but prefers a moist well drained slightly acidic soil.  They handle heat and humidity well and tolerate some drought and seashore conditions.  Kwanzans do not handle pollution well and are susceptible to aphids, scale insects, borers, Japanese beetles, and several fungal maladies that affect the foliage.

They have a vase shaped habit branching low to the ground however, they are often grafted to mazzard cherry stems at 4 to 6 feet to establish a suitable crown height for resale and use as a street tree.  Grown on their own roots, the trees will grow to 30 feet in height and just as wide.


Kwanzan cherries do not require a lot of pruning, but an pruning required to establish a good structure should be done while the tree is young.  Larger cuts do not compartmentalize well and will lead to decay.  One of their other benefits in the landscape is that they do not produce fruit, so they are not messy, but they also do not provide forage for wildlife.

Kwanzan cherry is a beautiful tree with many landscape uses.  Given the proper space they will provide many years of beautiful spring shows and autumn glory without a lot of fuss.

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